Tasmanian Times

Economy

Integrity? What integrity!

There is sometimes a yawning gulf between what you can reasonably hope for, and what you realistically expect. The announcement of the first three members of the nascent Integrity Commission is a fine example.

All three are currently high-level, and presumably very busy, Tasmanian public servants, hardly an ideal launch pad for an assault on the Augean Stables.

The three are: Ombudsman Simon Allston, Auditor-General Mike Blake, and acting State Service Commissioner Iain Frawley. I have encountered two of them.

I made a complaint to Mr Allston a few years ago regarding the Meander Valley Council’s formal policy of objecting to no PTR applications. Mr Allston responded by denying there was anything amiss with the policy. I replied that the Council had no legal right to fetter itself from its own, albeit limited, statutory powers, and that the presence of at least four councilors with known financial or organisational links to the logging industry put the legality of their policy in further doubt.

Mr Allston then replied that that his earlier response had been written by a subordinate, that his own view was that the policy was not valid, and that he had so advised the council of this. After I later replied that the council was continuing to observe the policy, Mr Allston advised me that he would no longer correspond with me.

I observed Mr Blake over the land swap between FT and the State government. The problem there was that nearly 78,000 ha of State Forest (Crown land) plantation had been surreptitiously deeded in freehold to FT under an agreement in which they were thereby required to surrender freehold land of equal value to the crown. When the Land Services Department could throw no light on where its vast area of newly land was, the Australian Financial Review published an article asking that question.

Mr Blake then commenced an inquiry into the murky deal, finally reporting that, although he could not identify the physical location of land that had been surrendered, he was satisfied that the everything was in order. The 78,000 ha of plantation also disappeared from FT’s inventory, though the leaked copies of the titles they were on survive.

I know nothing about Mr Frawley, but I think I know enough already to abandon hope that the Bartlett government had changed its ethical spots.

Earlier on Tasmanian Times: The Great Tasmanian Land Robbery: HERE

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Kate Elphinstone

    May 17, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Hi John

    I am a Journalism student at UTAS. I am currently researching for an article on the Integrity Commission which will be my major assignment piece for this semester.

    I read your article with interest and was wondering if you would be interested in speaking to me further about this debate?

    Please contact me at katee0@utas.edu.au if you are.

    Thanks, Kate.

  2. pilko

    April 30, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Hayward and #16 dish out plenty to others. Not that I can see that anyone on this thread has “attacked” John.
    Hayward has just written an article with a very provocative title which basically calls into question the integrity of three people which most people on this thread dont even know. I’m sure he can cope with a small amount of contrary comment.
    Hayward is a big boy with a quick wit. I doubt that he will sulk if everyone doesnt agree with him.

  3. Mike Bolan

    April 30, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    It’s a pity that some commenters appear unable to deal with the issues raised, instead lapsing into the ‘ad hominem’ fallacy of attacking the person in various ways – exactly the same ‘tactic’ employed by so many in the government.

    As usual, John pointedly raises issues that should concern us all, particularly as we taxpayers are paying for everything that the government does.

    I’m sure that we would all be a lot more informed if posters stuck to the issues instead of making derogatory comments about the author and others.

  4. Simon Patrick

    April 30, 2010 at 12:04 am

    If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…..

    Woodworker, what issues of substance do you have with Haywards article. One commisioner has demonstrated a distinct lack of integrity in identifying unacceptable actions, then refused to further act or discuss the inaction. The other demonstated a stunning lack of understanding re the importances of little details like “where is the actual land” in a dodgy bit of land theft. A matter which to my knowledge has never been resolved.

    Are you calling Hayward a liar or do you think these examples are acceptable behaviour from those whose job it is to protect the wider public interest?

  5. pilko

    April 29, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    I can sympathise with you woodworker to some degree. There is no doubt that a virtual monoculture of opinion and to a lesser degree articles and news items constitute what we know as the Tasmanian Times.
    Greg Barns once described TT as “self-absorbed and boring”, the antithesis of what a challenger to the established print medium ought to be. He went on to say…. “Like many writers in the state, I have written for oldtt.pixelkey.biz and had articles I’ve had published elsewhere republished on the site; I have participated in the online argument and commentary section of the site. However, I’m always left wondering “Why bother?’’ There’s a cricket team of individuals who dominate the site. Nearly all have a similar world view”.

    Once upon a time I would have defended TT from such comments, but nowadays I’m not so sure that Barns wasn’t right.
    Keep on dissenting Woodworker. This site needs people like you.

  6. john hayward

    April 29, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Although kindly intended, some of John Hawkins’ comments (#10), require clarification.

    My “overseas legal training” was across Bass Strait, in Adelaide, and it has actually provided very little insight as to how the law operates in Tasmania. And I have found it an exceedingly simple system once you work out which side the referee is playing for.

    John Hayward

  7. Russell

    April 29, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Comment deleted after challenge to comment 11.

  8. George Harris aka woodworker

    April 29, 2010 at 3:04 am

    Comment challenged, reviewed and deleted.

  9. john hawkins

    April 29, 2010 at 1:43 am

    I have been an admirer of John Hayward for some 7 years for he is without doubt a great Tasmanian and a fearless campaigner for integrity in this our corrupt island state.
    In this day and age he is a rare individual to befriend,namely a person of intellect and conviction, prepared to act with humanity,often at great personal cost to himself.
    His overseas legal training and background gives him a rare insight into the Tasmanian legal world and its complexities.

    I suggest that his brushes with Allston,Blake and Underwood reflect badly on the Tasmanian legal establishment.This establishment is backed by inept but cunning politicians many of whom have a great deal to lose.

    As a result they are now busy constructing a toothless in house ethics commission to protect their own. An outcome foreshadowed by my submission previously published on TT.

  10. Mike Bolan

    April 28, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    It’s good to hear that the Integrity Commission will be headed up by sound and reliable people.

    There’s also the matter of their powers of course…

  11. pilko

    April 28, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Certainly none of them will be the chief commissioner of the new body. Whilst i do share some of Hayward’s cynicism about the appropriateness of existing public servants sitting on the commission I would argue that no matter how squeaky clean & independent Hayward and his like would see a conspiracy and doom n gloom in the appointment.
    http://www.justice.tas.gov.au/corporateinfo/projects/integrity_commission/appointment_as_board_member
    Reading over the criteria for new appointments to the commission I do acknowledge that the selction criteria may see the commission potentially filled with ex Tasmanian politicians and public servants.

  12. sabina01

    April 28, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Barty’s ‘not one iota of change’ policy in action?

  13. Concerned Resident

    April 28, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    If the gov’t elect the ‘ethics commission’ it will not be very ethical…I would not trust the forestry and big business orientated lab/libs to elect anyone who would possibly question the ethics of forestry or big business or any of the inner-gov’t dealings with the businesses concerned. This state deserves to have a fully independent anti-corruption commission to clear out the current dodgy dealers.

  14. David Obendorf

    April 28, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    John you write: “I know enough already to abandon hope that the Bartlett government had changed its ethical spots.”

    Would those ‘ethical spots’ be two Tasmanian Green spots secreted away under his tail nearest the fundamental orifice so that our chameleon Bartlett doesn’t have to show them when it suits but regularly dump on them.

    As the RACT Insurance TV-ad goes – “Davo, what kept you?”

  15. Russell

    April 28, 2010 at 11:01 am

    NOTHING less than an ICAC or Royal Commission will suffice.

    As evidenced time and time again, NO-ONE that this Lennon/Bartlett Tasmanian Labor Government appoints from within can be trusted.

    The same applies in more than one State of Australia as well. How WA ex-Treasurer Troy Buswell can still have a job at all after misappropriating State funds to help sate his compulsive and continual sexual exploits is incomprehensible.

  16. phill Parsons

    April 28, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Independent, they must be independent to be judges and even then their are questions. But public servants?. These are the same frank and fearless who have advised to the point we are at where we ned an ICAC. Only when it is a national body divorced from the States will it be an effective change agent.

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